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Transferring Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research to Practice: Barriers and Solutions to the Practitioner-Academic Gap

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Publication date27/10/2022
Host publicationInterdisciplinary Research for Sustainable Business: Perspectives of Female Business Scholars
EditorsBeate Sjafjell, Rosanne Rusell, Maja Van Der Velden
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages15
ISBN (print)9783031069239
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameStrategies for Sustainability
PublisherSpringer Cham
ISSN (Print)2212-5450
ISSN (electronic)2452-1582


Interdisciplinary sustainability knowledge in the field of management is often perceived as lacking relevance for practical applications in the field. This then hinders progress towards a more sustainable business. In this chapter, we discuss why the practitioner-academic gap exists including knowledge transfer problems, knowledge production problems and philosophical problems. We reflect on whether the gap is simply unbridgeable or whether it is possible to find solutions such as improved communication of scientific knowledge and collaboration.

We illustrate our literature review with the case of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) flagship executive education program. This initiative is part of the WBCSD’s commitment to sustainable development by educating business leaders on possible pathways from business-as-usual to a sustainable future. The program initiative aims to bring interdisciplinary knowledge attached to the sustainability agenda and apply this to practice. The learnings of bridging the practitioner-academic gap in this initiative are creating a shared goal, retaining ownership and creating multilingual translators all of which are key for future endeavours that aim to transfer interdisciplinary knowledge.

Keywords: interdisciplinary, sustainability, practitioner-academic gap, collaboration, knowledge